Well the weather outside is frightful. After all, look at the sky at the wrong time and Santa may heave up more than a present into your face.
Stephen King once said the concept of his books comes out of a simple ‘what if?’ question.
What if your pets came back to life? What if a hotel drove you mad? Or, in the case of Violent Night, what if Santa was once a hammer wielding Viking?
And what if he got stuck in the middle of an armed robbery at a stately home? Well then, the halls are going to get decked with more than holly, aren’t they?
What Is Violent Night About?
Santa Claus (David Harbour) is washed out. Sick of the greed of Christmas he contemplates giving up.
However after taking a moment in the lavish home of a wealthy family, he has to fight for his life when armed and prepared intruders demand access to the safe.
His reindeer have gone, and despite the rich socialites being money grubbing snobs, there is a young girl (Leah Brady) on the Good List who still believes in him.
A very solid trailer for Violent Night some time ago promised John Wick levels of constant Christmas themed violence.
The reality is a movie that leans a little too hard on broad comedy for the first half.
The self absorbed rich family consist of stereotypes that spark little from their scenes, be they drunken and selfish (Edi Patterson), teenage Tik Tok generation (Alexander Elliot), or trumped up action actor (Cam Gigandet).
Mean matriarch Beverley D’Angelo may bring a formidable jaw, but as figures of fun the fun is mostly lacking.
David Harbour’s murderous Santa is in fact anything but. The opening scenes establish he is an out of shape drunk, barely able to rustle up the magic required to go down the chimney.
Violent Night certainly makes you wait for the decorative destruction. It takes a while to ramp up the frequency of satisfyingly squishy action scenes that make good lethal use of every Christmas item you could hope to name.
Violent Night Official Trailer
Is Violent Night Worth Watching?
Despite a sluggish start and by numbers framing, once Violent Night gets into gear then there is much maniacal murder to get stuck into.
The thieves, led by ‘Scrooge’ (a spitting feathers John Leguizamo), have a smattering of individualism that makes taking them out all the more fun, and take them out we do; the second half of the movie unwraps so many buckets of blood that you’d wish it could be Christmas every day.
Whether it be Harbour shoving sharped candy canes into unpleasant places, or the movie shamelessly ripping chunks out of Home Alone (courtesy of a fine performance from young Brady), there is an inventive wince worthy tactility to the carnage.
It’s seasonally cartoonish and we’ll happily take that gift all wrapped up with a bow, thank you very much indeed.
You could uncharitably say that Harbour is playing the same sort of character he normally does (washed up but with dignity and an inner core of steel) but he bears the movie on his broad shoulders expertly.
“I don’t fully understand how it works,” is his constant refrain when delivering a bit of Santa magic, but there is no denying the magic he sprinkles over this movie to bind it all together.
Violent Night is a classic case of great idea but uneven execution. There are glimmers of character comedy in there (actor ‘Morgan Steel’ channels Chris Evans’ character from Scott Pilgrim but with half the resumé) but, like the night before Christmas, you just have to count down the hours until you can rip open whatever you want.
Words by Mike Record
- Apple TV brings you the future of television, right at your fingertips. Immerse yourself in the world of laughter, inspiration, and heartwarming moments with the critically acclaimed show, Ted Lasso, and a plethora of other captivating content.
- Star studded, award winning series and films.
Amazon Prime Video
- Welcome to a world of boundless entertainment, where thrilling stories come to life at your convenience. Amazon Prime Video invites you to explore a universe of gripping narratives, including the adrenaline-pumping series, "Reacher," and an extensive selection of captivating content that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
- Additional benefits of Prime Membership: Music Streaming Service, Amazon Photos and Exclusive Offers
- Delve into a world of original storytelling, where Disney's creativity knows no bounds. With Disney+ Originals like "The Mandalorian," "WandaVision," and "Loki," you'll witness new narratives and characters that expand the enchanting tapestry of the Disney universe.
- Great collection of Kids series and movies.